EXCLUSIVE: Lindsay Dougherty, the newly re-elected chief of Hollywood’s Teamsters Local 399, sees the Teamsters turning into “a extra militant union,” and is already trying forward two years to when the native’s movie and TV contract can be up for renegotiation. The present contract, which she negotiated final summer time with Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, expires July 31, 2024.

“We have loads of work to do when it comes to organizing, which is at all times a precedence, but additionally simply preparing for the following contract, which is in two years,” Dougherty mentioned in an interview with Deadline. “We’ve restructured loads of issues when it comes to enterprise brokers and making an attempt to make sure that we’re implementing the contracts to the very best of our skill, which is at all times a tough factor to do in our business, because it’s very transient. That’s what our focus has been, as a result of we don’t know what’s coming in two years. Obviously, we noticed what occurred with IATSE’s strike authorization vote final 12 months. So we anticipate that that’s not subsided fully.”

IATSE members voted nearly unanimously (98%) to authorize a strike final October, however solely ratified the deal they ultimately bought by the slimmest of margins.

“That unrest has not subsided, particularly in regard to inflation and issues like that,” Dougherty mentioned. “So I believe there are some members which might be trying for lots extra change than they’ve seen to this point in contract negotiations. But for probably the most half, our focus is getting our steering committees collectively – loads of member-engagement, which has at all times been a precedence of ours. But now with Zoom and know-how we’re in a position to have much more conferences and lessons. So we’ve been partaking our members in that method and we’re going to proceed to take action. Just making an attempt to get extra individuals concerned within the union, particularly with the occasions that we’re in within the labor motion, the place you’re seeing loads of youthful of us being extra concerned of their native union. We’re making an attempt to take part in any method we are able to to make sure that our members are the strongest they are often, and that we’re the strongest we could be collectively for the fights now we have forward of us.”

Lombardini, she mentioned, “is hard, so it wasn’t straightforward, however I get pleasure from negotiating with anyone that provides respect. She’s been round for a very long time, and she or he is aware of what she’s doing, and she or he instructions loads of respect as nicely. She’s coping with all of these conglomerate firms, so it was a problem, however I believe she’s a good particular person.”

Lombardini grew to become president of the AMPTP in March 2009, and there hasn’t been a strike in Hollywood on her watch.

Asked what she sees coming with respect to the business’s Covid-19 protocols, which expire at the end of the month – and for which industrywide negotiations started Monday – Dougherty mentioned that “for probably the most half, there’s not as a lot controversy as there was. I believe you’re seeing loads of these protocols being rolled again as a result of we’re not in the course of the pandemic, as we as soon as have been two years in the past. Of course, the reduction of not masking always outdoor may be very a lot necessary to our members, particularly through the hotter months. The obligatory vaccinations, that hasn’t been as massive a subject of debate as a result of a lot of the firms should not even implementing ‘Zone A’ obligatory vaccinations. I don’t suppose it’s going to be as contentious or thrilling because it has been lately when it comes to what the employers need or what the unions need.”

As for the vaccination mandates, which the business’s unions enable producers to implement on a production-by-production foundation, she mentioned that “in the event that they’re not using the mandate persistently, I don’t see why they’d push for that, transferring ahead. Not except it’s some type of leverage they suppose they’ve.”

Turning to the latest determination by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to award Local 399 with the movie jurisdiction of New Mexico Teamsters Local 492 following an audit and member considerations about Local 492’s referral guidelines and monetary construction, Dougherty harassed that “It wasn’t a monetary audit, I need to be clear on that. There have been complaints that got here by way of to the International and it’s our duty on the International to analyze these complaints.

“It was discovered that the overall government board believed that Local 399 was finest suited to take over that jurisdiction, as there are solely three craft locals within the Teamsters union which have movement image (jurisdiction) primarily – that’s Hollywood Local 399, New York City Local 817 and Vancouver Local 155. We’re within the 13 Western States, and New Mexico Teamsters function underneath the identical wages, working circumstances and advantages that our members in Hollywood do, so we’re clearly well-equipped to deal with the 300 members. That is what we’re transferring ahead to do and searching ahead to do – to assist these of us to proceed to flourish and thrive in an business that’s seemingly going to develop within the state of New Mexico with the tax credit score credit they’ve.”

Dougherty bought a standing ovation when she spoke at a Local 492’s membership assembly on the Albuquerque Convention Center on August 27 to clarify the switch of jurisdiction to Local 399. “It was a heat welcome, to say the very least,” she mentioned. “The members in New Mexico are very comfortable to have us as their representatives they usually’re excited and thrilled to be a part of Local 399.”

Some members of Local 492’s film division complained that it had been run like a “dictatorship,” however with the resignations of its previous leaders, the business in New Mexico is now represented by Joshua Staheli, its new enterprise agent. Staheli is presently Local 399’s recording secretary however was lately elected vice chairman. “He has been particularly assigned to assist with this transition in New Mexico,” Dougherty mentioned, “so he’s been there each week serving to these of us and answering their questions, and he’ll be there fairly persistently in the intervening time.”


Dougherty comes from a Teamsters household; her father, Pat Dougherty, was secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 337 in Detroit. “He’s since retired however he was a 40-year Teamster, and there’s movement image business in Detroit, imagine it or not. I’ve been within the business, or round this business, for a few years, actively working on this business. I used to be in transportation for about 20 years, after which even earlier than that I had spent a while on movies as a result of he was working as a driver or transportation captain through the occasions that any type of movie would come there, like 8 Mile.

“I really feel very fortunate to be a second-generation Teamster as a result of loads of what I do know, I’ve recognized since I used to be a child. I’ve been underneath Teamster healthcare my whole life. I used to be in a position to go to school due to my father having that stability with a job that paid advantages, and my mother clearly, she labored as nicely, however simply having that understanding of what a union is and the way necessary it’s to working-class households, I really feel like I used to be forward of the sport a bit of bit as a result of I had that training by way of simply rising up with my father as a powerful Teamster chief. And he truly negotiated contracts for the business, too, when he was a secretary-treasurer of his native. I even deal as we speak with a number of the labor relations individuals who know my father.”

In addition to being secretary-treasurer and principal officer of Local 399, Dougherty can also be director of the Teamsters Motion Picture and Theatrical Trade Division and is Western Region vice chairman of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. And she’s the primary lady to carry any of these posts.

“I believe it’s due time that there’s a lady” in these posts, she mentioned, noting that “I’m the youngest at Local 399 when it comes to being a principal officer. I believe there’s a necessity for this modification that loads of members need to see as a result of issues have been the same-old, same-old for a very long time. But I additionally perceive the worth of arduous work, and I’ve simply been fortunate sufficient to have loads of academics and mentors round me which have given me alternatives that I’ll not have been given by different individuals who will not be so open minded.”

Asked how the business’s range efforts are progressing, she mentioned, “It’s similar to any type of struggle, like throughout the labor motion and civil rights. It’s a unending battle. I believe we consistently need to try to make sure that we’re together with all people for all alternatives. So proper now, at Local 399, I’m the primary feminine principal officer, but additionally Alison Taylor, who was simply elected by way of acclimation, is the primary African American lady on the Executive Board, and Philip Quansah is the primary African American recording secretary.

“There are strikes we’re making an attempt to make when it comes to we would like our employees and our management to mirror what our members seem like, and it will not be the best share of demographics, however I believe you need to make these modifications in order that other people and different members that come after us can see that anybody can do that job, and it doesn’t matter what you seem like so long as you’ve the motivation and the abilities to take action.

“I believe this dialog about range, fairness, and inclusion, we nonetheless have an extended strategy to go when it comes to once you stroll onto the set of a movie and also you see what the crew appears like, it’s not even reflective of the actors which might be being represented within the movie. There’s simply not sufficient African American staffing, and we’re in southern California and there’s no purpose for that apart from that everybody must strive tougher. And even when as a lot as we proceed to progress, I don’t suppose it’s one thing that we’re not going to speak about anymore. I imply, with civil rights, we’ve been speaking about these items for many years, nicely earlier than I used to be even born, and as a lot change as we’ve made, you’ll have thought there could be much more change in a few of these industries and in our nation. But it’s clearly a piece in progress and it’s clearly a struggle that all of us have to simply proceed to maneuver on and transfer ahead with.”


The Island

Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor in 2005’s ‘The Island’

Dougherty bought her begin within the film enterprise as a background performer on 61*, the 2001 Billy Crystal film “a few years in the past in my early teenagers,” she mentioned. “After that I labored in transportation. My first film as a transportation dispatcher was The Island, a Michael Bay movie. So, I basically bought thrown to the wolves my first challenge and beloved each second of it. So, lots of the tasks I labored after that have been on main movement photos, the massive movies, the blockbuster hits that maintain you working for a couple of 12 months.” Her many different movies as a transportation dispatcher embody Django Unchained, Water for Elephants and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

And although she’s spent years within the trenches, her rise by way of the ranks has been meteoric to change into what could be the second-most highly effective Teamster within the nation – behind IBT president Sean O’Brien, on whose slate she was elected final November. O’Brien, who took office March 22, succeeded James P. Hoffa, the son of notorious Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.

“It is fairly spectacular when you consider it,” she mentioned, “as a result of it’s such a fantastic honor for me to be a Teamster, as a result of that’s all I do know and that’s all I’ve ever wished to be. But to have this skill to not simply characterize Hollywood but additionally the business when it comes to the Motion Picture Division, after which to be part of a workforce that’s led by Sean O’Brien, who’s going to be the best chief we’ve ever seen on the Teamsters, simply together with his tenacity and intelligence. And we’ve already seen a lot change already within the Teamsters within the final six months of his taking workplace. And it’s inspiring, I believe, not only for us on the Executive Board, but additionally for members to see, as a result of for any type of change that occurs for the union, or for employees typically, there’s bought to be change on the prime, like main by instance, and that’s what Sean O’Brien has been doing.”

She’s recognized O’Brien, she mentioned, “for nearly 15 years. I met him by way of my father. My father was on the movie coverage committee for the Motion Picture Division of the Teamsters a few years in the past, so I met Sean within the early 2000s when he was the principal officer of Local 25 in Boston. So, I’ve recognized him for a really very long time.”

Asked what’s forward for the IBT, she mentioned: “If you’ve seen something within the information, everybody’s just about full-speed forward – the identical mentality that now we have in Local 399, the place we need to have the members lead the union; have the facility of the membership of not simply contract enforcement, however higher contract negotiating, higher contracts, and change into a extra militant union typically. And then, along with that, organizing is one in all our key priorities as a result of the Teamsters – and never simply the Teamsters, however most labor unions – have seen a loss in membership, and that’s by way of legal guidelines which were in impact and deregulation, and issues like that. So organizing is certainly a precedence. Amazon is without doubt one of the targets of that, and Amazon is a Goliath of an organization that has overtaken bundle supply, trucking, freight, issues like that, and we’re seeking to arrange Amazon, and never simply because they’re a Goliath but additionally, they’re not good to their employees both.”

Asked how a lot nonunion work is being performed in Hollywood, she mentioned: “It’s not a lot on the manufacturing facet of issues. It’s the distributors and manufacturing services that cater to the business. We’ve had some organizing efforts most lately when it comes to classifications, too, that historically have been non-union, just like the Chef Assistants and the DOT Admins, and within the early 2000s, we organized casting administrators, so we’re at all times comfortable to be part of these organizing efforts. We’ve already organized a few of these, like Zio Studio Services and Quixote, most lately, which each have been bought by Hudson Pacific Properties.”

Production assistants are one of many final teams of employees in Hollywood that aren’t unionized. Asked if there’s any thought that Local 399 may attempt to arrange them, she mentioned: “When you’ve individuals working 12, 14, 16 hours a day they usually’re given a day by day charge which arguably isn’t even authorized as a result of they need to be handled like hourly workers, and we’ve seen a change, a bit of little bit of change within the business of the businesses being conscious of what’s authorized and what’s not authorized when it comes to wage and hour regulation, however that’s positively the place loads of abuse occurs as a result of these of us are entry-level positions, additionally not represented by a union, and paid the least quantity. So, yeah, most actually we’d positively be comfortable to have these discussions and characterize these of us.

Dougherty on organizing manufacturing assistantsMost actually we’d positively be comfortable to have these discussions and characterize these of us.

“Anytime any of us come to us to arrange we’re comfortable to have that dialog and to have that struggle, and there’s not a struggle that we’re afraid of. So most actually we’d take that on, however in my latest years on the native, over the past 10 years, we haven’t had any type of method to that. I’ll say the powerful factor that now we have with a few of our positions that now we have organized is that the employers, they’re going to struggle it doesn’t matter what simply because they imagine that these are entry-level positions. However these entry-level positions within the business are positively not whilst nicely compensated as a few of these firms like even Starbucks.”


Looking to the long run, Dougherty mentioned that unions need to carry extra younger individuals underneath their umbrella, and to be the change in an effort to make issues change.

“I believe that hopefully with what’s taking place in our nation, the remainder of the business prioritizes their members, and I’m not negatively talking about any union, I simply suppose that every one of us can at all times be higher and progress. With know-how and the youthful generations coming in, it’s our duty to show these which might be additionally simply coming in recent and new. As Teamsters, now we have to make it possible for we do proper for the following technology of employees, and I believe that must be a precedence as a result of there’s loads of modifications taking place on this planet and in our nation.

“I believe there needs to be a spotlight, particularly proper now as a result of we regularly hear simply destructive feedback about youthful generations, when these are those which might be truly going to be main us ahead sooner or later, so we simply need to prioritize how we have a look at issues when it comes to partaking our members and preparing for the fights that we do have.

“During the pandemic, we noticed how important the employee is, and there was a lot deal with sanitation employees, grocery employees, bundle supply and the like, and I believe for probably the most half these individuals don’t really feel as important as firms made them out to be on the time. They sacrificed lots for his or her households and for his or her communities and continued on throughout one of many hardest occasions that we’ll ever see in our historical past. So I believe placing it on the market about how arduous working our business is, as nicely, is one thing that we have to put within the forefront. Hollywood will get its title on the market from the actors, however there’s lots of people behind the digicam which might be making issues occur and making a superb residing, and I believe the world and the nation wants to grasp that, too, as a result of there’s loads of prospects and alternatives for youthful individuals to make a superb residing on this business.”

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